C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


SC/ST panel pulls up admn for ignoring guidelines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
Taking serious note of the repeated violations of its orders, the National Commission of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes regional office at Kendriya Sadan, Sector 9, here has urged its Chairman to review the activities of the administration with regards to SCs and STs welfare.

It director, Mr Tenzin Wangyal, has also sought a survey of socio-economic development and implementation of service safe guards for employees. He said the administration had shown total lack of transparency while dealing with issues concerning Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes.

* Wants roster of promotion in all departments

* Special houses occupied by non-SC/STs be vacated

* Provide reservation for allotment of government houses to employees

The commission had also asked the administration to cancel the allotments of those who had occupied houses meant for SCs/ STs. Many of the SC/ ST families had sold their houses on the basis of general power of attorney (GPA) for money. The commission said such allotments should be cancelled and houses allotted to eligible SC or ST families.

The matter relates to the special housing scheme in Palsora, Sector 56, under the Ambedkar Awas Yojna. The commission had asked the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) to conduct the survey. The CHB, however, declined to conduct it. The Commission said the survey was feasible as only 1,000 houses were to be physically checked. The CHB already has the list of allottes and verifying it with the present occupier was not a big task, says Mr Wangyal.

These constructed houses are of 1 marla (24 sq yards) and were given to SC/ ST allottes at a subsidised rate of Rs 70,000 each. Since this colony was located on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road over the years its premium has sky rocketed.

In another case the commission asked the administration to provide reservation in allotting government houses. The same is allowed by the Central Government for certain category of houses. The administration reportedly cited a Supreme Court’s judgement for its inability to do so. It sought a copy of the judgement and wanted to know why the reservation had not been provided.

The commission also pointed out that vacancies against SC/ST quotas had not been filled and a roster of promotion not prepared in all departments. Even if it exists, it is not transparent.



Students’ calls clog CBSE helpline
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
Taxing times for those appearing for the board examinations have just begun. They are busy with pre-board exams and plagued with the board examination phobia. This is evident from the fact that the CBSE helpline is flooded with calls from students on how to prepare for the exam.

The two numbers, 9417006590 and 2792433, are always found to be busy. While bright students are trying to improve their scores with any small tip which will help them perform better, the weak ones are on the lookout for quick, short-term solutions to tide over the difficult period.

Nearly 30 calls are received daily from 9 am to 12 noon and 5 pm to 8 pm by this helpline. Though the peak season begins in February and nearly all queries are related to preparation. The remaining cases are of schools persuading weak students to drop a year rather than take the examination without preparing for it.

“Since it is early as far as board exams are concerned, we are counselling weak students about how to prepare for the D day. They still have ample time to at least score pass marks in subjects they are weak in by focussing on limited compulsory portions of the paper,” says CBSE counsellor for the region and Principal of the KB DAV Centenary Public School, Sector 7, Ms Madhu Bahl.

With marking scheme for boards now available at a CBSE godown in Industrial Area, Ms Bahl is advising schools to guide students on preparing for the exam accordingly. “This would enable children who are not confident of their preparation to identify high-scoring topics and leave out the rest. This way, they will manage to pass the exam. The bright students would also benefit from this since they can master the high-scoring topics,” she added.

Wasting a year by dropping out at the last minute is not an idea that finds favour with Ms Bahl who suggests these children to sit for the examination and not give in to pressure from the school which suggests so with an eye on its result.

“Even if they focus on their studies, they will not end up wasting a year. Also, it is high time that schools divided the board classes, both X and XII, on the basis of preparation. For the exceptionally well-prepared students, revision is a must while the middle section should also attempt as many sample papers as possible. For the absolutely weak students, the schools ought to guide them on topics which will see them through rather than discouraging them,” she adds.



Minor blast in mini secretariat
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 24
There was panic in the Punjab Civil Secretariat when a woman Scientific Officer today received minor injuries when an explosive substance she was examining went off in the Punjab Mini Secretariat here.

She was taken to a hospital where the doctors declared here out of danger.

A police team reached the spot along with explosive experts and sniffer dogs. The building is highly sensitive as a large number of officers on militants’ hit list live here.

However, the police was relieved when explosive experts declared that the explosive that went off did not have potential to cause major damage.

The SHO of Sector 3 Police station, Mr Biswa Lal, said that it was a minor blast that occurred during the inspection of some cracker-like explosive substances. The scientific officer, Ms Asha Talwar, received injuries on her face and hand while two others, Onkar Singh and Mehar Singh who were working with her in the laboratory, escaped unhurt. The windowpanes of the laboratory were shattered.

The explosive material was brought from Punjab for forensic examination. 



Sheds in Grain Market removed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
The first phase of the anti-encroachment drive in Grain Market, Sector 26, proved to be a successful exercise today. Some of the encroachments in front of the shops were removed by the owners themselves.

The exercise, led by Mr S.K. Setia, Enforcement Magistrate, and Mr Inderjit Singh Sandhu, Additional Deputy Commissioner, was largely peaceful.

Four trucks, three JCBs, water canons and anti-riot vehicles were used in the drive. Nearly 40 labourers were employed to clear the encroachments. As many as 100 policemen were also present.

The exercise stated around 11am after a team of Congress leaders, including Mr Subhash Chawla, Mr Devinder Babla, Mr Bhupinder Badehri, Mr Harmohinder Lucky, Mr Kamaljit Panchi and Mr Pradeep Chhabra, had a round of talks with the authorities. Shopkeepers had been given time till January 28 to clear the encroachments.

The open spaces in front of the shops are meant for loading and unloading of goods. However, the shopkeepers had been using the area for storing goods. Certain shopkeepers had even constructed tin sheds to cover the goods.

When the drive started, a majority of the sheds were removed. Certain portion of the open spaces were dismantled by the JCBs. This was objected by the owners, saying they were adhering to the rules framed by the Administration. However, the exercise was stopped after some time due to protest. Mr Raj Kumar Goel, a former Mayor, said the authorities did not even measure the area before commencing the drive.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner said certain shopkeepers were flouting the norms with impunity and could not be spared. The first phase of the drive should serve as a warning for others.

Structures in corridors of shops were left untouched and the owners were told that they should clear it at the earliest. A senior Congress leader pointed out that the Administration had not given enough time to remove the encroachments.

Mr Jagdish Kumar said: “I am not against the drive. I am against the pick-and-choose policy adopted by the team.”

Meanwhile, the BJP has criticised the double standards of the Congress. At a press conference of the Congress, leaders said they would not allow the drive to continue, whereas today they accompanied the staff.



28-yr-old woman electrocuted
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 24
A young software developer employed with the Quark Media House here was electrocuted at her residence in Sector 71 this morning. The victim, Smitha Diwan (28), who lived alone died while having a bath.

According to the police, Smitha was heating water in a bucket using an immersible rod and it seemed that a clothes hanger fell into it. Smitha was electrocuted while trying to retrieve the hanger from the bucket. The police said Smitha was found dead by her friends in the bathroom this morning who then informed the police. According to the police, Smitha was working with the Quark Media House for one year now and had shifted to Sector 71 in October 2004. She was heading the integrated product group in the company. Her parents, who live in Pune, have been informed. They will arrive tomorrow morning.

Smitha was living in a rented accommodation on the top floor of house number 2408. The lower portion of the house was occupied by a couple who also worked in the same company. Smitha was supposed to reach office in the morning to attend a meeting at 9 am but when she did not reach office till noon, her friends and colleagues Vikrant and Tripti came home to check on her.

They told the police that they had to break open the door in her part of the house to enter her room. The bathroom door, which was also locked from inside, had to be broken. Smitha’s friends found her lying on the wet floor with the hanger in her hand. The two also told the police that the immersion rod was still on and they switched it off.

The police has taken the body to the Civil Hospital, Phase VI, where a post-mortem would be conducted after the arrival of Smitha’s family members. The police has ruled out foul play in Smitha’s death and said it was an accidental death due to electrocution. 



High Court
Major relief to brick-kiln owners in Punjab, Haryana
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 24
In a major relief to brick-kiln owners in Punjab and Haryana, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the authorities not to take coercive steps to force them to implement the clause relating to use of at least 25 per cent fly ash in the manufacture of bricks.

Taking up the petition filed by Guru Nanak Bricks, Kakar Majra (Ambala), the Bench also allowed the manufacture of bricks without using fly ash till further orders.

Later in the day, during hearing in similar petitions filed by Mr Shiv Walia and 50 other brick-kiln owners of Punjab, the Bench said that its order would be applicable for them also.

As per the notification dated August 20, 2003, issued by the Government of India as the subsequent notification issued by the Haryana Government on May 24, 2004, the brick-kiln owners had been directed to ensure that at least 25 per cent of the material used in bricks was fly-ash produced by thermal plants within 100-km radius of the brick-kiln.

However, hundreds of brick-kiln owners have challenged the notification on the ground that the clause was wrong in law as well as un-implementable.

Today, advocate Rajan Gupta, appearing for the petitioner, argued that fly-ash could be radio-active and its use could lead to serious health problems. He also stated that some samples of fly-ash and bricks manufactured by using it have been sent to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, for detailed tests. The reports, he said, are still awaited.

He also told the court that many logistical problems, including use of specially-designed trucks, could lead to heavy escalation in cost of bricks if fly-ash was used. Mr Gupta also stated that even the Brick Act talks of manufacture of bricks by mud only.

After hearing him, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Rajive Bhalla passed the detailed order and adjourned the matter to February 11.



PEC students return shaken sans Sonia Deva
Swarleen Kaur

Chandigarh, January 24
The group of Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, who had left for Manikaran in a festive mood, came back sad today as their efforts to retrieve body from gushing water of river Parvati went futile. Sonia Deva, a promising student of third year of Aeronautical Engineering, was drowned in Parvati River on January 21.

Despair was writ large on their faces as they disembarked from the bus without their friend. Many of them, still in a state of shock as they found themselves unable to come out of the trauma they had undergone.

Mohindier Rajpoot, the final year student of Metallurgy Department of College who was the convener of the group said, “We were 50 persons in the group and the trip was organised by friends. Such trips had been organised in the college for the past four years. We could never imagine that such a tragic incident would strike us. Though I did not witness the incident, according to my information Sonia after paying obeisance in the gurdwara Sahib in Manikaran went with a few other students including senior students to ask some shopkeepers there about the best locations to get her photographs clicked. They told them a place near the river and they went there to click the pictures. “It was supposed to be group photograph and nobody knows exactly how the incident took place,” he said.

Gaurav Jindal, a final year student of IT and co-convener of the group said Sonia was a very helpful and jovial person. She was the life of the group. “We tried our best to find her but the flow of water was such that it was impossible to get her back from the treacherous waves. This incident happened at around 10.10 on Friday. Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) team also reached the spot and we all tried to locate the body. Because of snow and bad weather the search had to be suspended also but again we went to look for her but realised that it was an impossible task. The incident has changed us forever and life will now never be the same. After the first day when it started becoming clearers that we might have lost Sonia for ever, panic and gloom spread among the group and it was very difficult to handle the sensitive students.

“Initially when students told me about the incident I thought it was a prank but when I came to know that they were not joking, I rushed to look for her. I sought the help of the police and they tried to help us. 



Controversy over Army officers' qualification refuses to die
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
The controversy over certain senior officers' professional qualification surrounding the Army's judicial branch refuses to die, with fresh allegations now being raised by the father of an officer serving in the same branch and a Panchkula court issuing summons to the branch's former head and a representative of Army Headquarters.

It has now also transpired that a court of inquiry (COI) to ascertain allegations that the head of the Army's judicial branch, the Judge Advocate General (JAG) had obtained his law degree through improper means, had indeed been ordered by the Army, but was held in abeyance.

Though the COI was convened under the aegis of Headquarters, Western Command, the documents pertaining to the COI were recalled by Army Headquarters a few days later for reasons still unknown.

Authoritative sources, who had access to the COI's convening orders, confirmed that the orders were signed in the first week of December. The Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lieut-Gen P K Grover was nominated as the presiding officer, with Chief of Staff of the Ambala-based 2 Corps and GOC of an Artillery Division as members.

It is also learnt, that a lieutenant-general at Army Headquarters was detailed to conduct a one man inquiry into the matter, but it was on the directives of an officer of the level of joint secretary in the Ministry of Defence that a full-fledged COI was ordered as one-man investigations to not have any legal sanctity under the Army Act.

An Army Headquarters spokesman, when contacted, maintained that the matter of the court of inquiry was not based on facts.

Meanwhile, the officer's father, Mr A B Chandra, has claimed that information and documents obtained by him showed that the JAG had passed his second year LL.B. from Lucknow in 1979. He has contended that if the officer had passed his second year in 1979, he would have taken admission for that session in 1978. The officer was posted in Lucknow from 1978 -- 1980 and in 1978 he could have taken admission in first year only. He obtained his degree in 1982. Before 1978 and after 1980 he was posted away from Lucknow.

The Army spokesman said that the Army had no further comment to offer on the lawyer's aforementioned contention. In response to a query pertaining to an earlier report on the issue, the spokesman had stated that the JAG acquired a LL.B degree as a regular student while attending evening classes. He cleared the first two years while serving in Lucknow and then secured admission for the third year. Prior to the third year examination, he was posted out in 1980.

The controversy initiated after the officer, who was then posted in Southern Command, was denied study leave to pursue a law course on Human Rights under the British Chevening Scholorship. A letter bearing the signature of the branch's former head was sent to the Deputy Army Chief, stating that a criminal case was pending against the officer and that he could not be granted leave. The letter was later found out to have been forged.

The officer, thereafter, filed a criminal case in a Panchkula court alleging forgery and tempering in his annual confidential report (ACR). The court issued summons a few days ago to a retired major-general as well as the Assistant Military Secretary at Army Headquarters to appear before it. The court has also summoned the officer's ACR and personal records.

Statutory complaints alleging tempering of records as well as alleging that certain senior officers in the JAG Branch had obtained their law degrees through improper means were also filed by the officer. Significantly, a letter written by Directorate, General Military Training, to a formation in Jammu and Kashmir, where the officer is now stated to be posted, states that the complaint has been forwarded to the Adjutant General's Branch on the orders of the Chief of the Army Staff. The letter is dated December 22 -- well after the Army issued a statement that the complaints of the officer were examined and found to be baseless.



Rs 70 cr spent, but ‘no sign of development’

The local municipal council has spent Rs 70 crore in the past three and a half years on maintenance and development works. However, for residents, hardly any improvement is visible.

While Opposition members in the council allege that the ruling group has emptied the council’s coffers during its tenure, the council president says he is satisfied with the way they have performed.

“When the present council was constituted we had Rs 50 crore in the bank. We have spent Rs 70 crore without having achieved anything. The roads are in bad shape, the railings are broken and there is garbage all over the main roads. The council earns over Rs 20 crore every year but has not been able to beautify the township,” said Mr Manjit Sethi, Opposition member in the council.

The council president, Mr Kulwant Singh, said he was happy with the works done by the council. “We constructed new buildings in the township and streamlined the sanitation system. Road berms are being regularly maintained,” he added.

Some of the parks are being maintained by the council but lately these have become dumping grounds for the sanitation employees. Sweepers employed by the sanitation contractor have been for the past few months using corners of these parks for dumping, dry leaves and garbage.

At many places road divider railings have been damaged and not being repaired. The Council has despite its best efforts not been able to stop people from defacing public properties. Posters giving political religious, commercial information are pasted on guide maps, walls and pillars.

It has also not been able to prevent people from throwing malba and other construction material on roads. As a result of this roads remain blocked for days.



Passing Thru

Balbir Singh Momi What are some of the differences between mediapersons in Canada and India?

Balbir Singh Momi,
Editor, Nagara, and writer based in Canada

Mediapersons in Canada are independent and can write boldly. They do not come under pressure and cannot be cowed down by any kind of threat. In India mediapersons do not write strongly. The system prevailing in India is corrupt and maybe they have also become a part of that system. Mediapersons have been seen taking personal favours from those in position and that can also be a reason for not being able to expose the evils present in the system.

What issues are being neglected by mediapersons in India?

Cases relating to the violation of human rights are much more in India as compared to Canada but mediapersons have not been giving enough coverage to such violations. Nor any action is taken by authorities concerned regarding such cases quite contrary to what is being done in Canada.

What are your comments on ethnic and mainstream newspapers in Canada?

Ethnic papers have been focusing on political activities in the country while the mainstream newspapers give more importance to social aspects. They try to blow up controversial issues while news related to political developments is carried on inside pages.

— Kulwinder Sangha



Chandigarh Calling

Sight of a mouse in a Sector 35 restaurant became an excuse for some customers, including an IPS officer of Punjab, not to pay their bills. The IPS officer saw a mouse enter the restaurant and upset over this he refused to pay the bill. He said the food in the restaurant might have been contaminated because of lack of hygiene. On getting to know about this another customer also refused to pay the bill. A member of the hotel staff, however, had the cheek to say that sighting of a mouse was auspicious according to Hindu faith and that the mouse had not gone out but had entered the restaurant may be because a policeman was around. The police officer finally agreed to pay the bill when the hotel staff ‘threatened’ to take the matter to the Press.

Narrow escape

The Fauji Beat column, contributed by Pritam Bhullar for Chandigarh Tribune, had a'' narrow escape'' on Sunday when a puppy ran off with the envelope containing the weekly write-up. The writer, who usually delivers the column at the residence of a Tribune journalist, slid the envelop from under the door of the newsman's house. The owner’s pet puppy, who was watching the visitor with interest from behind the door, pounced on the envelope, clutched it between his teeth and ran out in the garden. It was with considerable cajoling and chasing that the puppy ultimately decided to relent and release the column. However, it was not only persuation that worked . A ‘bribe’ of a few biscuits had to be offered to the pet for the safe release of the column that is relished by the readers.

Attitude training

In spite of having the best of knowledge in humanities, science and spirituality and abundance of material resources, talent and skills why the lure of success and happiness still drags Indians offshore? The Tuff Trak International, presently in the city for a seminar, finds the answer in the attitude of Indians. The seminar provides core strategies for complete life success and is open for all people above 18 years of age. Founded in 1993, its director, Mr Asit Ghosh, recipient of “The Bhaskar Award” believes that success and happiness go much beyond the realms of education and knowledge. He said vocation, career, money and matter — all are subject to attitude. Mr Asit Ghosh, who has imparted training to 52,000 persons all over the country, is pursuing the cause of Attitudinal Training, relentlessly. He said what our people need is attitudinal training at home, school, college, university at work and in every sphere of life.

Rat scare

Scores of rats (certainly a fraction of the total population in the area) ran in all directions to save their lives when the JCB machines of the UT Administration started “operation clean up” in the open space in front of a shop in the Grain Market, Sector 26, as a part of the anti-encroachment drive on Monday. A large crowd had gathered in front of a shop where the team was removing sacks of animal fodder and salts. The rats came out slowly and sent waves of panic among the people gathered there. People could be seen jumping and shouting to shoo away the rodents. Some of the rats were kicked about and killed.

Hurried decision

The timings of government schools in the UT were changed from 8 am to 8.30 am but the decision was taken back by the UT Education Department from January 17. Maybe officials concerned thought that winter was on its way out. But ever since the department reverted to old timings, the winter tightened its grip in the city. The question that arises, however, is that when the Punjab Education Department had already changed its timings from 8 am to 9 am till January 31, why the UT Education Department was in a hurry to revert to old timings? The children of nearby villages and towns were the worst sufferers. It is hoped that the department would go by the prevailing weather conditions and not by the dates of the month.

Snow seekers

As soon as rain and chilly winds lashed the region on Saturday, city residents frantically started making programmes to see the snow. Old timers in the city can easily tell from experience when it would snow in Kasauli, about 55 km away, or in Barog, about 60 km away. There was a lot of rush on dhabas along the Chandigarh-Shimla highway on Saturday and after reading reports in newspapers the rush on Sunday was even more. The liquor shops too did roaring business and the roadside vendors who specialise in non-vegetarian pickles also had good business. By Sunday evening, however, the rush had subsided.

Poll lesson

Elections to the District Bar Association (DBA), slated to be held on January 28, will have at least one unique feature. The election will be “poster-free” with all candidates undertaking not to paste any posters on the District Courts premises. The candidature of the defaulters will be cancelled, warns Mr L.R. Chadha, the Returning Officer. Well, it is time for the politicians, particularly from Haryana, to learn a lesson or two from the advocates!

— Sentinel



Bravery award for Kulwant Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
For resident of Buterla village in Sector 41, Mr Kulwant Singh, the brave act of saving a woman, who was being allegedly kidnapped by a car-borne person has got recognition.

Putting his own life at risk, Mr Kulwant Singh, had chased the car on his scooter to save the woman. The Chandigarh Administration has decided to confer a commendation certificate on him for act of bravery on the Republic day.

Narrating the story Mr Kulwant Singh said it was near the traffic lights at Aroma when a woman was shouting for help inside a Maruti car.

He chased the car, the driver tried to browbeat him by trying to push him to side. In the process Kulwant’s scooter hit another car.

He still managed to gather enough courage and chase the car. Finally he managed to corner the car driver after a chase and free the woman.

Apart from this act of bravery the Administration has also decided to confer commendation certificates to Mr P.S. Verma for his contribution the field of Arts. Mr Verma gets the awards posthumously.

He died away a few weeks ago.

An employee of the Haryana Raj Bhavan, Mr Bakhwinder Singh, will be awarded for meritorious service.

He lives in Sector 7 here and is presently posted as PA to Governor Haryana, Dr A.R. Kidwai.



Four cops to be honoured on Republic Day
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 24
Four police personnel, including a woman Sub-Inspector, were today selected to be honoured on the Republic Day for their meritorious services.

Inspector Ishwar Singh Mann, who joined the Chandigarh police on July 1, 1968, as constable was all praise for senior officers for his selection. He said he was dutiful and sincere thus the God graced him with the medal. He further said he had 60 or 70 commendation certificates to his credit and was awarded cash prizes amounting to Rs 10,000.

Mr Mann was punished for his aggression while discharging his duty last year. He said his zeal for duty sometimes might make him seem harsh. He has worked in traffic police, vigilance and served as the SHO of Sector 34 police station. At present he is with the security staff.

The only woman officer among the four selected personnel, Sub-Inspector Gurjit Kaur, said it was due to her services, well-wishers and near and dears that she had been selected for the honour. She recalled her days during her tenure in the woman cell stating that she had solved nearly 80 per cent of husband-wife disputes.

She said she was grateful to God and senior police officers. She joined the Chandigarh police in April 4, 1990.

Sub-Inspector Rachpal Singh said he joined the city police in 1969. He received 46 commendation certificates during his service besides cash prizes. At present he is a Band Master in the city police. He said he joined the police band in 1985.

Sub-Inspector Dalbir Singh, in-charge of the Sector 22 police post, said he had first-class certificates as well as many other certificates to his credit. He said he was promoted Sub-Inspector in 1994. He is known for busting an inter-state gang of car thieves in Sector 22. 



Traffic restrictions for R-Day function
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 24
The Chandigarh Traffic Police has imposed certain restrictions on traffic and planned diversions from certain roads near the Parade Ground, Sector 17 and near Punjab Raj Bhavan.

The road from the roundabout of Sectors 16, 17, 22, 23 to the rotary near petrol station, Sector 22-A, on the Udyog Path, from the crossing Sector 16, 17 up to the roundabout of Sectors 16, 17, 22, 23 on Jan Marg and from light point near Lyon’s Restaurant, Sector 17, up to Parade Ground, will remain closed to vehicles from 7 a.m. on January 26 till the function was over.

Parking for people in the parking area in front of shops in the Sector 22-A market will not be allowed from 7 a.m. onwards. The VIP’S and the senior officers with authorised car parking labels on their vehicles, will be allowed to enter from roundabout of sectors 16, 17, 22, 23 on Udyog Path and allowed to park vehicles in front of market in Sector 22-A.

General public will be allowed to park vehicles in Sector 22-B, and near the Blood Disease Hospital, in Sector 23-B, on the rear side of Neelam cinema in Sector 17, in the parking of Football stadium and the Circus Ground in Sector 17.

All long-route buses coming from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and other places have been diverted towards ISBT Chowk from Bajwara Chowk, and Piccadilly Chowk via Himalya Marg for January 26.

The Chandigarh Police has also imposed restrictions on traffic around Punjab Raj Bhavan, for the ‘AT HOME’, function. The road from the roundabout of Sectors 5, 6, 7, 8 up to the T- Point near Golf Club and from the T- Point near Punjab Raj Bhavan onwards, and towards the residence of Adviser to the Administrator will remain closed to general public from 2 p.m. onwards on January 26, till the function ends.

Vehicles with the ‘pink car parking labels’ will be parked on the rear side of Adviser’s residence. The self-driven cars of senior citizens with ‘pink car parking labels’ will be allowed to park in the area of Mini Zoo.

Those with the ‘green car parking labels’ can use the road from Sectors 7, 8 turn and can park their vehicles in the parking area adjacent to Adviser’s residence, Sector 7.

The Traffic Police has requested the Golf Club Members to use the road from Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26 to reach Golf Club, from 2 p.m. onwards, on the same day.



General pays farewell visit to Command Hospital
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieut-Gen J J Singh, today paid a farewell visit to the Command Hospital, Chandimandir. He was accompanied by the president of the Army Wives Welfare Association, Mrs Anupama Singh.

They visited various wards and enquired about the welfare of patients. Gifts were also distributed to patients.

The Army Commander also presented a cheque for Rs 1 lakh to the hospital commandant, Major-Gen S K Kaul for patient welfare activities.

Later, the General and his wife were given a farewell by officers, their wives and the nursing staff of the hospital over a cup of tea.

Noting that the patients were being well looked after, the General , who is scheduled to take over as Army Chief next month, said that further efforts would be made to improve he facilities in the hospital so that it could become a state-of-the-art super-speciality centre.



Fine performance by NCC cadets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
In a remarkable improvement in its performance over preceding years, the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh NCC Directorate has bagged the third position at the national-level Republic Day Camp (RDC) in Delhi.

About 1,800 cadets from 16 directorates across the country are participating in the camp.

This is despite the fact that several cadets got affected with chicken-pox and had to be hospitalised. Though it did not affect the directorate's participation in competitions, the cadets, after being quarantined, would not be able to attend the Prime Minister's Rally or the prize distribution function.

"This is a big achievement. The cadets have done us proud," Deputy Director-General, Brig D S Dhillon, said here today, adding that in the past two decades, the directorate had not even been placed among the first 10. Last year was an exception when it bagged the fifth position.

He said that the directorate had initiated an inter-group banner competition last year, which brought talent to the fore. He added that special attention was also paid to training and personality orientation of cadets. Cash prizes and incentives for cadets as well as instructors have also been instituted, which further served as a motivational factor. This year, cash prizes worth about Rs 90,000 are to be distributed to deserving cadets and staff.

The directorate had sent a 170-member strong contingent, including a 44-member band to the RDC this year. Commanded by Lieut-Col V.J. Kohli, this was the largest contingent to be ever sent by any directorate. Because of the medical problem, the contingent, except for the band and the horse riders, departs for Delhi today, six days ahead of schedule.

During competition for the best cadet, two cadets, Neha Sahni (Ambala Group) and Inayat Dhanda (Ludhiana Group) won the silver, while Amit Prashar (Amritsar Group) and Aditya Khanka (Shimla Group) bagged the bronze. Neha had stood first in firing, while Aditya topped the obstacle course.

While the directorate topped the quiz part of the National Integration Awareness (NIA) Presentation competition, it bagged the overall second position in NIA presentation, which also included presentation of the culture and heritage of the region. It also bagged the overall second position in the line area layout and cultural competitions, with two golds in the solo song and group song competitions. The directorate also bagged a gold in radio-control aeromodelling competition.



NCC motorcycle rally flagged off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
An NCC motorcycle rally, traversing the country to spread the message of AIDS awareness, was flagged off on its next leg to New Delhi here yesterday.

The rally started from Kolkata on December 1 and will cover 11,000 km. It has already passed through peninsular India, western states, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Flagging off the rally, NCC Group Commander, Chandigarh, Col Ashwini Sharma, lauded the team's grit and determination, and said that such rallies would foster a sense of awareness among the masses on the malady of AIDS, besides inculcating a spirit of adventure among cadets. The team will also participate in the Prime Minister's NCC Rally in the Capital on January 27.

The team comprising 27 cadets, including 14 girls, from West Bengal and Sikkim NCC Directorate is being led by Lieut-Col V S Chaher.

While passing through 14 states so far, the team has performed over 100 road shows and skits to spread awareness about the menace of AIDS. The expedition is scheduled to culminate in West Bengal on February 6. 



SAD (Longowal) ‘Mukti andolan’ from March 1
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 24
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) will start its Mukti Andolan from Fatehgarh Sahib on March 1 to free the state from social and political evils.

Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, president of the party, who held a meeting, with district jathedars and circle presidents here today, said the ‘andolan’ would be started to free the state from vices like apostasy, drugs, female foeticide, unemployment, corruption, dowry, etc. Efforts would also be made to free Panthic organisations from the clutches of non-Panthic bodies.

He said rallies would be organised through-out Punjab to create awareness among the public. He said that farmers should be given relaxation regarding loans from banks. One-time settlement should be done regarding old loans as was being done in the case of industry. He said that interest-free loans should be given to unemployed persons.

He said conventions would be held at various places in March. In Longowal it would be held on March 5 while in Dharamkot and Moga on March 7. Similarly, a convention would be held on March 9 in Ludhiana, on March 11 in Mansa, on March 15 in Patiala, on March 17 in Gurdaspur and on March 19 in Faridkot. In Bathinda, the convention would be held from March 21 to March 25.

The party opened its office at Balongi and Mr Jagjit Singh Sidhu, former secretary of the Punjab School Education Board, has been made in charge of the office.



System in India out-and-out corrupt, says PSEB chief
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 24
The system in India is thoroughly corrupt and hard work is not rewarded in this country.

These views were expressed by Dr Harbans Singh Sidhu, Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, at a function organised to honour those Punjabis who had settled abroad, by the management of a local evening paper here today.

Mr Sidhu, who was the chief guest at the function, asked those settled abroad to keep coming to Punjab now and then for giving inspiration to people here. As such we will be compelled to think and make efforts to adopt the good points of the system prevalent abroad, he said.

Balbir Singh Momi, Editor of a Punjabi weekly, and a writer, said that when he went to Canada, he had to work for survival even when he had a number of educational degrees from India. Even though he had been able to establish himself in Canada now, he missed Punjabi a lot. He said Punjabis settled abroad always looked for newspapers in Punjabi so that they were able to know what was going on in their motherland.

Mr Balwinder Singh Gill, who has settled in England and had been elected as a councillor, said the system prevailing in England was transparent and government officials were honest. It was disappointing when we had to pay bribes in India to get our work done. added Mr Gill.

Mr M.L. Sharma, SDM, who presided over the function, lauded the contribution made by Balbir Singh Momi to Punjabi literature. Momi has written 20 books which include short stories one act plays and novels.

Among those honoured at the function were Balbir Momi, Mr Karamjit Singh Benipal, Mr Balwinder Singh Gill, Mr Hardeep Singh Garewall, Mr Hardev Singh and Mr Bhupinder Singh Cheema. 



‘Jawans’ act doesn’t reflect erosion of discipline’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
While reports of five civilians being crushed by a train after they were allegedly pushed out from another train by Army jawans has shaken up the defence establishment, several retired officers were of the view that it was an isolated incident and did not necessarily reflect the standard of discipline in the forces. Nevertheless, they felt that the matter should be thoroughly investigated and if found guilty, the armymen concerned should be awarded exemplary punishment.

The unanimous opinion was that the action on the part of the armymen was improper and even if the compartment which the civilians were trying to enter was reserved, they should have asked railway authorities or the police to sort out the matter rather then pushing them out.

“Though the exact details are not yet known, the soldiers had no business pushing out the civilians from the coach but should have taken up the dispute with the local railway authorities,” Lieut-Gen G.S. Kler (retd), former Director General Military Training, said. “Since there was no one to supervise them, the issue of discipline does not arise here. They were acting in their individual capacity and the Army cannot be held responsible for the incident,” he added.

Five persons, including a woman had lost their lives when they were run over by Sampoorna Express after they were thrown out of the Farakka-Bhiwani Express waiting on an adjoining track, at the Shikohabad railway station yesterday. Those present at the site of the incident stated that they were trying to board an unreserved compartment.

“It is not yet clear whether the act was intentional or circumstantial,” Lieut-Col J. S. Mand said. “If it was a deliberate action, then it is definitely high handedness on the part of the soldiers, but it is in no way a reflection on the standards of the Army as a whole. The Army has a good record,” he added.

“Though it is unfortunate, it could be that the incident happened on the spur of the moment after arguments snowballed,” Capt Sandeep Bansal said. “Ordinarily soldiers have to travel without reservation as their leave is unplanned and they get no time to book tickets. It is also possible they were travelling under stress or were provoked,” he added. 



Fauji Beat
Protect whistleblowers to curb corruption

IN most cases, it has been seen that it is the complainant who gets into trouble and not the senior officer against whom a complaint is made by the former. In certain cases, the complainant is deliberately involved in a disciplinary action. This is the reason why most subordinates do not make any complaint and close their eyes to the misdemeanours of their seniors.

It is for this reason that the Army Headquarters have ruled that the anonymous complaints should be investigated. The policy in general is to carry out a preliminary investigation and then if some substance is found in the complaint, a proper inquiry is ordered. This will go a long way in curbing corruption in the Army.

A majority of the civil organisations are inundated with corruption and this is casting its ill effect on the Army. Barring a few negligible percentage of people in India, all others who are in the position to make money are corrupt. As per the reports, even the ex-servicemen organisations, functioning under the state governments, are indulging in open corruption. In certain cases, reports quoting scores of allegations have been submitted to the government mandarins. The only way to discourage open loot in these organisations is to hold inquiries and bring the culprits to book.

Government hospitals

Although all government hospitals have also been empanelled for the treatment of the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) members, very few of them go to these hospitals. Most of them prefer to go to private hospitals. This is because they think that government hospitals are not so good as the private hospitals. This may be true in some cases but it would be wrong to put all government hospitals in the same category. It would also not be correct to think that all private hospitals are of a good standard.

In Chandigarh both government hospitals, i.e. the General Hospital in Sector 16 and Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, are maintaining a good standard. This writer, when advised physiotherapy treatment by the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, got himself referred to the Sector 16 hospital for this treatment. It must be said in all fairness that the treatment was very satisfying. The physiotherapist at this hospital, Dr Indra Rattan, said on the second day of the treatment: “We try to maintain the same standard as that of the Army”. Even the Sector 32 hospital is equally good.

The ECHS members of Chandigarh should try out these hospitals. Another important point to remember is that there is no commercialism in these hospitals, unlike the private hospitals.

Kitchner House

Located on the ramparts of Fort William, Kitchner House, as it is called, is the Headquarters, Bengal Area Officers’ Mess, Kolkata. This architectural marvel, created by the Bengal sappers in the 1760s, combines the Gothic and the Georgian style of architecture.

In 1801, it was Lord Wellesley’s home. Field Marshal Kitchner, Commander-in-Chief of India, also stayed in this house. During World War I, this building was used as station officers’ mess.

And in 1948, it was made, Headquarters, Bengal, Bihar and Orissa (Independent) Area Officers’ Mess. Another striking feature of this mess is that it gives a dominating view of the Maidan, Victoria Memorial, Race Course, Strand and the Hooghly river.

Revised ECHS subscriptions

As a result of numerous representations, the Ministry of Defence has revised the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) subscriptions on the basic pension, including 50 per cent DA. The new subscriptions, which become effective from April 1 last year, are as under —

Monthly Pension, including 50% DA Contribution 
Upto Rs 3,000 Rs 1,800
Rs 3,001-6,000 Rs 4,800
Rs 6,001-10,000 Rs 8,400
Rs 10,001-15,000 Rs 12,000
Rs 15,001 and above Rs 18,000

Those who have paid more than these subscriptions since April 1, 2004, can claim the refund of their money.

— Pritam Bhullar



Doc’s death: report fails to unlock mystery
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 24
The post-mortem examination of the body of Dr Babita Kaura alias Dolly has failed to unravel the mystery of her death. The post-mortem report that the city police received today failed to pinpoint the exact cause of her death, said the police here, today.

Dr Babita died in mysterious condition on January 18 after she suspected to have jumped from the third floor of her house in Sector 24. The post-mortem report got delayed for five days due to holidays in the PGI, said the SHO of Sector 11 Police station. In the absence of evidence the police is groping in the dark and is working on suicide theory only. The police has not yet registered any criminal case in this regard.

The police has now pinned its hopes on the viscera report it has sent to Patiala for the examination. The report of the CFSL is also awaited. The police investigation could only move further after these reports are made available to the police.

Dr Babita died of severe head and chest injuries after falling from the third floor of her house. Her sister-in-law was at home at that time while her husband had left home just 15 minutes before the incident. Family members of Dr Babita had not filed any complaint in the police. 



Houses ready; allottees await basic amenities
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
It is a case of all dressed up but nowhere to go. Hundreds of allottees of dwelling units of various cooperative housing societies in Sector 48-C are unable to shift to their new houses as the Chandigarh Administration has failed to provide basic infrastructure there.

The allottees alleged that despite repeated representations, the Administration had failed to provide such basic amenities as water, electricity, drainage and sewerage connections to certain societies, which had completed their internal construction work.

Mr M.K. Virmani, a coordinator for the societies, said at present the construction work in seven societies was in progress in Sector 48-C. Of these societies, the Bank of India Society, the SBI Supervising Staff Coop House Building Society, the State Bank Staff Society and the General Hospital and Allied Dispensary Doctors House Building Society have almost completed their construction with the Bank of India even allotting the flats to the owners, he added.

However, after spending huge amounts on the construction of the flats, their ownership still eludes the owners for want of facilities. The Administration has not yet planted saplings what to talk of developing the greenbelts. And there are no signs of streetlights in the areas around the flats, he said.

Besides, the mushrooming of jhuggis in the area is also assuming alarming proportions. The main approach road along the motor market remains occupied by motor mechanics and there is a need for alternative roads in the area.

The societies have decided to urge the Administrator to intervene in the matter.



Search Within
Saint Kabir on secret of happiness

Human life, many philosophers have said, is a bundle of desires. The pursuit of happiness, which, generally speaking, is the average man’s life goal consists of his efforts to fulfil his desires.

Without doubt it is the importunity of desires and the failure to fulfil all desires that paves the way for human misery. “To deny early and inflexibly, is the only art of checking the importunity of desire, and of preserving quiet and innocence,” wrote Dr Samuel Johnson (April 14,1759). He that complies with all lawful desires will certainly lose his empire over himself, and in time either submit his reason to his wishes, and think all his desires are lawful, or dismiss his reason as troublesome and intrusive, and resolve to snatch what he may happen to wish, without inquiring about right and wrong, he contended.

The species of happiness most obvious to the common man is that which depends upon one’s possessions. Yet even this is often fictitious. Many whose possessions are large have still larger desires and so happiness eludes them. Then there is also the tendency among men to measure their wants by the gratifications that others in the neighbourhood enjoy.

Reflecting on this human condition, an expert on Buddhism says: “Those who have had first-hand experience of addiction will know in full that it is a destructive trait — addiction to alcohol, drugs, food, whatever — all lead to great sorrow for those who are addicted. Scientists even talk of an ‘addictive gene’. It seems to me, however, that the tendency towards addiction is latent within us all. Some people get addicted to money, affection, fame, sex and even work! We get a buzz from something and we want to get back for more. We are attracted to pleasure and try to avoid pain.”

Saint Kabir, a 15th century mystic, poet and philosopher, associated with the Bhakti movement, however, held that desires constituted the true wealth of humanity.

The vast majority of people, he maintains , are born with countless desires — too many desires to pursue any one of them with conviction or dedication. Most of these countless desires concern the superficial aspects of life, such as personal appearance or personal possessions. People who have many desires are the poorest of people, Kabir says, and they seldom achieve any success in any field. Their lives are also the saddest, because they are the most superficial, dominated by too many desires that matter too little.

There are other people who are born with some desires, and these are usually people who lead what are considered successful lives. No matter what field of endeavour they choose, they manage to accomplish at least modest goals, because they are able to focus on only some desires.

A few fortunate individuals, however, have only a few desires. Out of these come the geniuses: great scientists like Madame Curie and Albert Einstein, great musicians and poets, great humanitarians and political leaders. These individuals have very few desires, and thus they will make their mark in whatever fields they commit themselves to.

Finally, a few rare individuals have only one desire. These are the great mystics—spiritual leaders who often practise meditation, which is a demanding discipline designed to reduce the number of desires. Over time, meditation can reduce a person’s desires from countless to many; then from many to some; from some to a few; and from a few to only one, according to the saint. As the number of desires becomes fewer, the desires themselves become less superficial and more profound .

People whose desires are few, in contrast, have passion. Whatever field of life they commit themselves to, they have a tremendous passion to persevere and to succeed. Driven by a longing that is spread among only a few desires, passionate people often achieve great things. The final step in the emotional progression occurs when all of a person’s passions — personal ambition, the pursuit of pleasure, the need for prestige, the preoccupation with profit — become melded into one flaming passion that sears the heart. Kabir calls this singular passion devotion .

One means of paring down the list of desires, as the philosopher noted, is meditation. Another is adversity, known in the mystical tradition as suffering. When life becomes difficult and uncertain, superficial desires fall away, and what remains is what really matters to us. People who have experienced extreme hardship — soldiers in combat, those with terminal illness, victims of torture, etc — all report more or less the same thing about the consequences of suffering. When life itself is uncertain, only one thing matters: survival. Life becomes exceedingly simple, its purpose crystal clear.

The many desires of life are purified by the fires of adversity; what remains is the one thing that both demands and deserves complete devotion.

That is what Ramalingam and nearly 2000 others might have learnt when surviving on improvised wooden rafts floating above 15 feet of sea water for 48 hours near the island of Sinabang, 125 km west of Sumatra, when giant tsunami waves hit them on Christmas day, 2005.

— M.P.K. Kutty



Netaji remembered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
On the occasion of 108th birth anniversary of Neta Ji Subhas Chandra Bose, on January 23, the Rajasthan Parisha organised a blood donation camp in Rajasthan Bhavan, Sector 33-A. It was organised in collaboration with the National Integration Medical Association (NIMA) here on Sunday.



JB Trust contributes Rs 50,000 for tsunami victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
The JB Charitable Trust today contributed Rs 50,000 towards the Tsunami Relief Fund. The amount was collected by the three schools run by the trust. MRA Senior Secondary School, Sector 27, contributed Rs 31438, MRA Modern Public School, Panchkula collected Rs 12650 and JB Modern Public School, Chandigarh, collected Rs 5912, The cheque was handed over to Mr OP Arora, Additional General Manager of The Tribune by the director of the school, Ms S Mahajan.



Worker caught stealing zinc plates
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 24
A man was caught red-handed while stealing zinc plates from a factory while, the police said here today.

Mr Amar Singh of Phase I, Industrial Area, reported to the police that he caught Anil Kumar, a worker of his factory, red-handed while stealing 15 zinc plates from the factory yesterday. A case under Sections 381 and 411 of the IPC has been registered.

Car stolen

Mr Atul Goyal, a resident of Sector 45, complained to the police that his Maruti car (PB-19-0003) was stolen from Panjab University, Sector 14, on Sunday. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 11 police station.

Stereo stolen

Mr J.S. Ratra of Sector 42 reported to the police that a car stereo was stolen from his car, which was parked at his residence, during the night of Saturday. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 36 police station.

Held for gambling

Anil Kumar of Sector 46 was arrested for gambling at public place in furniture market, Sector 41, on Sunday. A sum of Rs 810 was seized from his possession. He has been booked under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act.



Purse containing Rs 2 lakh, jewellery stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 24
A woman, who came to Sri Bauli Sahib Gurudwara in Zirakpur for the marriage of her son, was robbed of her purse. It contained Rs 2 lakh and jewellery of equal amount for the marriage. A teenager was captured while stealing the purse.

Surjit Singh, a resident of Naraina Vihar in New Delhi, came for the marriage of his son to the city. They went to the gurdwara yesterday to perform the Anand Karj ceremony. A boy was noticed accompanying the marriage party.

The local police has registered a case of theft on the complaint of the parents of the groom.



New BSNL Principal General Manager
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
Mr O.P. Sikka has taken over as the Principal General Manger Telecom , Chandigarh BSNL. Replacing Mr Satya Pal, who has been shifted as Principal General Manger, Operations Maharashtra circle. Before joining here Mr Sikka was working as General Manger Telecom. Sangrur.

He belongs to the 1975 batch of the Indian Telecom Services. The Officer has worked in different positions of TCIL, Himachal circle , J&K circle and also in the Sultanate of Oman.


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